Focus 2017: Lviv

Welcome back everyone to the “Focus 2017” series, where we take a look at the cities that have the best chance of hosting next year’s Eurovision Song Contest! As with the previous two editions in the 2017 series, it has been interesting to hear your comments and opinions on where you think NTU should stage the competition and it’s very intriguing to hear the various viewpoints for each city! Eurovision fans are – for sure – one of the most intellectual fans!

To those who are joining us now; as we all know, Post-Eurovision Depression and the following “off-season” can be very draining and dull. However, here at ESC Views, we like to analyse the pros and cons of the various cities that are bidding to host Eurovision the following year, as the host city race rages on. In 2017, thanks to Jamala, we’re going to be on our way eastwards to Ukraine for next year’s Eurovision Song Contest, but where is exactly is yet to be seen. At the time of writing this, at least eight cities throughout Ukraine have thrown their hat into the ring for hosting Europe’s favourite TV show –  and who could blame them? Eurovision brings in more than double the (sometimes exacerbated) price tag of around €15 million (see here for numerical amounts in GBP, USD and UAH for the monetary amount of other currencies) in revenue for the city that has the pleasure of hosting such a grand event. .

In previous editions, we would have analysed all the various cities that have shown an interest in host Eurovision. However, we have decided this year to focus solely on the cities that have the most realistic chances to actually stage the Contest. After looking at Dnipro and Odessa in previous articles, it’s time to turn our attention to the city Ukrainians most want Eurovision to be held – Lviv.

Lviv is the westernmost city with a real chance of hosting Eurovision

Lviv is the smallest major city to have expressed an interest in hosting the Contest, with a population of just over 760,000 people. The city is situated in the Lviv Oblast a mere 60 kilometres from the Polish border and thus is one of the most Westernised cities in Ukraine, with strong links to both their neighbours in Poland and in nearby Slovakia. The city is also 591 kilometres from the capital, Kyiv and thanks to its close relations with bordering countries, trade between the two cities is well maintained. Lviv is one of the oldest cities in Ukraine, with the city celebrating its 760th anniversary this year. The city’s slogan is “Open to the World”, thanks to its strategic geographic location as the ‘gateway to the East’, and is considered to be one of the most tolerant and friendly cities in the whole country. The history of the city is reflected through the architecture of the city, which blends Eastern and Western culture; from the Austro-Hungarian Empire to the Polish rule to the Soviet era. In short, Lviv has stood the test of time and has the scars to prove it.

Lviv was hotly tipped from the outset to host Eurovision 2017, with rumours of the city grabbing the Contest moments after Jamala sang her final note. The city is the westernmost bid that has a realistic chance of staging the Eurovision next year.As Lviv is only 60 kilometres from the a border with the European Union, the city will be one of the safest places for Eurovision to be held in Ukraine, as it has been constantly named the ‘most European city in Ukraine’; thus the safety of the Contest in Lviv is virtually guaranteed. Should Lviv get the green light to host Eurovision, the Contest will be held in the Lviv Arena, with a capacity of 34,915 for football matches – although this will increase dramatically with the construction of the stage. The arena played host to three UEFA Euro 2012 matches and this shows that the arena is well capable to host an even bigger event. The public transport in the city is also renowned for its efficiency, with the trams in Lviv running for over 130 years! Lviv also has a large international airport with daily flights to European and Middle Eastern destinations. Of course, it is not the biggest airport in Ukraine, but with connecting flights to Kyiv-Boryspil, delegations can reach Lviv with general ease.

As seen with the above video from the lovely people over at Wiwibloggs, Lviv is being seriously considered as a contender for hosting the Eurovision, with at least 41% of Ukrainian citizens voting for Lviv in a straw poll conducted by Ukrainian media. As it has been said by both Jamala and other Ukrainians, Eurovision is a perfect opportunity to show another side of Ukraine than the one we all been unfortunate to know in recent years. Lviv has all the amenities available to host the Contest: the arena (although the roof needs to built, as with all the other named candidate arenas), the public transport, the press centre and the culture to show the city AND Ukraine to tourists; but – as Deban and William above stated – it lacks the amount of accommodation for fans that will basically invade the city for two weeks. This could prove to be a stumbling block for Lviv’s bid to host Eurovision, but thanks to the surging number of websites such as Airbnb, where you can rent out a room out of someone’s home, it looks likely that Lviv may be able to overcome the accommodation problem. All in all, it seems likely that it will indeed come down to Kyiv or Lviv to host the 62nd edition of Europe’s favourite TV show, but whoever wins out will definitely be a worthy host to see who will follow in Jamala’s footsteps.

So, what do you make of Lviv’s bid for Eurovision glory? Should the Contest leave the Ukrainian capital and head westwards? Would Lviv make a good host city? Do you perhaps think that the Contest be held somewhere else? Be sure to let us know your thoughts by commenting below or by voting in our poll which closes on AUGUST 1st instead of September 1st, now that we have a deadline for the host city being chosen. And be sure to stay tuned to ESC Views as we cover the largest city in the running – the capital, KYIV.

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